Budgeting for Your Vacation

It might seem that vacation and budgeting are opposites. Both can be described as boring and stuffy, while the other is fun and carefree. A vacation budget can help you travel to your favorite destinations and enjoy yourself. You’ll feel freer to enjoy your family vacation if you don’t worry about your checking account getting overdrawn or unnecessary debt. Here’s how:

Aim for a maximum budget

It would be easy to think that you should plan your budget based on your location. But the truth is, it’s quite the opposite. You will find some places more expensive than others to travel to or stay in. You can easily narrow down your choices if you have a maximum budget.

If you’re able to find the best deals, it is possible to stay in a place that isn’t very expensive but still affords luxury. This can be time-consuming and require a lot more knowledge. You can start by setting a budget, then plan the details.

How do you determine the number? There are a few options.

  • Based upon your monthly budget: What amount can you set aside each month to pay for your vacation savings? You’ll get your maximum budget if you multiply that number by the time you have between now and when your vacation is planned.
  • Based upon your annual income: You might consider budgeting each year rather than monthly if you are in a good financial position. This is where you decide how much of your annual income to spend on vacations and what your maximum budget should be.

Suppose you plan to take multiple vacations throughout the year and factor in additional expenses. You could set a vacation budget for the year and split it into smaller trips depending on your preferences and schedule.

Choose a Destination

It is tempting to sign up for low-cost airfare websites and let the cheap airfare take you wherever it leads. This is usually a mistake. You might feel pressured to buy airfare even if you don’t have the money. Another reason is that you might end up in a place with very expensive hotels and cheap airfare.

Be Prepared for Big Expenses

After you have chosen a destination, you will be able to get an idea of accommodation and transportation costs. You can search for vacation packages through Travelocity and Costco travel. These will give you a good idea of what vacation you desire. This will give you an idea of how much you can spend on lodging, transportation, and flights.

The major expenses will be:

  • Get to and from your destination
  • Accommodations in hotels, resorts, guest homes, etc.
  • If you rent a car, there is potential for transportation to your destination

All the little things are important

After you have calculated the cost of your major vacation expenses, you can consider the costs of the smaller items you will need to purchase. These could include but are not limited to:

  • Both on-site meals and out
  • Special gear
  • Transport by public
  • Administrative costs (passports, visas, etc.)
  • Entertainment tickets (shows, attractions, etc.
  • Gifts/souvenirs
  • Pet and home sitting while you are away

Be realistic about the actual cost of your expenses when you are calculating them. It would be best if you planned more than you underplay. This will allow you to go out for dinner a few times more often or let your children buy souvenirs at their favorite shops. Make sure you have extra money to cover miscellaneous costs that are almost certain to arise on your vacation.

Vacation budget planner

Use our Vacation Budget spreadsheet to see all of your vacation expenses in one place. Save the spreadsheet and enter your values to get your vacation budget.

Calculate How Much You Can Save

Your vacation expenses may not be included in your monthly budget. If you spend $200 per week on groceries and then go on vacation for a week, you can use $200 of your monthly budget to pay for your vacation expenses. You could also use your entertainment budget to pay for your vacation.

You can also subtract these amounts from your vacation savings total to get the exact amount you need for your vacation.